Up until now I've been caught up in the holidays and getting ready to go...now that the time is here, I'm really starting to get excited about all I will learn at pastry school. I do have to admit that I am a little nervous...but the excitement of being in France definitely outweighs that. Of course I'll miss friends and family...but hoping that the marvels of technology will allow us to stay in frequent contact.
I know I will have wonderful food in France...hopefully I will even make some wonderful food. However, I have to admit there are some things (some of them very American) that I will miss, even in the land of wonderful food. So, my last week at home I took the opportunity to visit some of my favorite local places and indulge in some of my favorite local treats...hopefully enough to hold me over until I return.
Of course, I had to have some barbecue!!! We visited Williamson Brothers Barbecue with our friends the McClishes for one last chopped pork plate. Williamson's, affectionately know to us as "The Piggy Place" ever since our friend Madeline McClish dubbed it this as a little girl due to the large painted pig that sits in the driveway, has some of my favorite barbecue --crispy, crunchy pork with a sweet an tangy sauce. I just couldn't leave town for 3 months without one last plate of 'cue and a piece of their homemade pie.
I know, I know...I'm going to Europe where they have wonderful, dark rich coffee...but you see, that's the problem...it's really too strong for me. I like my coffee kind of "tan"...lots of cream and Splenda, if you please. In Europe they have those very little cups of very dark, VERY STRONG coffee...way too intense for a java lightweight like me. After all these years of traveling I have learned to ask for a Grand Creme in France....coffee with steamed milk..this at least takes the color down to a medium brown...not quite tan, but it's as close as I can come. So, before I left I had to have one last Vent Nonfat 2-Splenda latte served up by my friendly Barista's at the Ansley Mall Starbucks .
And, of course, Guy and I had to have one last dinner at Osteria, our local neighborhood favorite ...nothing fancy, just great pasta and pizza. Typically we go here almost once a week, especially when the weather is nice...they have a great patio. I'll miss our regular routine of dining in the neighborhood.
Speaking of neighborhood favorites...here's one place I really will miss...Taqueria del Sol..without a doubt some of the tastiest Mexican food in the ATL...and for sure the best margarita in town. I know there will be awesome food on France...but I doubt I'll find cheese dip, shrimp corn chowder, fried chicken tacos or a margarita like this (or at all) anywhere in France. We are regulars at the TDS on Cheshire Bridge....I'm totally gonna miss this place...
The day I was flying out, Guy and I went for one of our absolute favorite lunches...the Fried Shrimp Po' Boy at Star Provisions. Star Provisions, on the West Side, is the market/bakery/cheese shop/sandwich shop associated with Baccchanalia, one of Atlanta's perennial best restaurants. Star Provisions, and, really anything associated with the family of restaurants owned an run by chefs Anne Quatrano and Cliff Harrison, is one of my favorite places in Atlanta to go...i don't think there's anything in there I don't love...everything is local, fresh, simply yet beautifully prepared and amazingly delicious. One of my all-time favorites is this beautiful sandwich ... delicately seasoned shrimp, deep fried golden brown, smothered in a sweet and slightly spicy remoulade -- all piled on a pillowy soft, fresh bun...OMG it is heaven in sandwich form. It's also huge..so Guy and I usually split one...this allows us to save room for something from the bakery case, or, a bowl of their homemade vanilla custard topped with creamy salted caramel. Truly some of the best bites in Atlanta.
And, last but not least, I had to get in plenty of my "drug of choice"...that lovely brown and bubbly elixir, Diet Coke. I know you think there will be Diet Coke in France..and, you are right, you can find Coca Cola Light in plenty of markets and some restaurants..but it just doesn't taste the same...I don't know why, but it's true - it tastes different...so, I had to indulge myself one last time.
So, there you have it...my personal hometown favorites...I'll miss them while I'm gone....will just have to fill up on plenty of wine, croissants, cheese and other delicious French food to fill the void.